A gong is a hanging percussion instrument that is struck by a special stick or mallet or beater. When someone bangs a gong – everyone pays attention. In fact, some legends tell of gongs from ancient China that were rumored to call farmers in from their fields from 50 miles away!
Most historians believe that the art of making these instruments dates back almost 4,000 years ago and some gongs have the most amazing tones when struck. Others are etched with beautiful designs or patterns that are considered lucky, sacred or special.
Can you make your own homemade version? Yes! With a little creativity and some recycled materials, you can make a nice sounding gong to use in your home, neighborhood or classroom!
A metal roasting pan (the larger the better – you can also use a metal pie tin or disposable cake pan )
Pipecleaners or yarn
Cardboard Tube From Wrapping Paper
Paint, stickers, glitter, glue or textured paint for decorating the gong.
For the beater:
Wooden dowel, stick, chopstick or wooden spoon
Start by allowing an adult to poke two holes in the top area of the metal roasting pan – about 2 – 3 inches apart. Slip a pipecleaner through each hole and then twist the ends together to form a circle.
Now you can insert the wrapping paper tube (or a broomstick or large stick) into the pipecleaner circle and the gong will hang down. To give your gong a nice sturdy stand, you can use several more pipecleaners to fasten the wrapping paper tube to two chairs that are placed a few feet apart facing outward.
Now that you see how your gong will hang on it’s stand, you may wish to take it down and decorate it. Add stickers, paint, or glitter and glue. Perhaps you can look up the year you were born in terms of Chinese astrology and put that symbol on your gong. Maybe you were born in the year of the rat or the pig or the ram or the fish. It’s great fun to find out.
MAKE YOUR OWN BEATER OR MALLET
Lastly, you’ll need a beater to strike the gong. Take a small stick or wooden dowel and wrap one side with electrical tape to form a head. That’s the side that will strike the gong to create it’s unique and wonderful sound. If you don’t have a wooden dowel, you can substitute a wooden spoon, a chopstick or an unsharpened pencil, just wrap the head the same way on the end that will strike the gong.
You can find instructions, coloring pages and pdf’s to make almost two dozen unique musical instruments from around the world on DARIA’s website at: